Mean Girl Memory

I was ten years old the day I acted like a Mean Girl. I’m ashamed to tell you what I did.

A group of us girls stood in our driveway laughing and talking. We were going to the movies. At the last minute, one more little girl showed up.

I didn’t know she’d been invited.

I wanted it to be just US older, mature girls, and she was only seven or eight. I still cringe at what I said.

We were all wearing shorts and T-shirts except for her. She wore a dress and Sunday shoes.

“Why are you so dressed up? We aren’t going to church. We’re just going to the movies.”

She ran home crying. We stopped by her house to pick her up, but she wouldn’t come to the door.

It felt so dark inside my heart.

I’d excluded her from the group.

Something happened last week and I remembered being a Mean Girl, and the shame in her eyes. While my husband was feeding his parakeets, one flew away. A white female.

For days she darted near the atrium where she used to live, but we couldn’t catch her. 

Sometimes, I’d see her in the treetops all by herself. An outsider looking in.

Nearly broke my heart…

Rick hung a bird-cage on the atrium, and fixed the tiny door so if she flew in, it would close. She never did.

And the worst part–at night, she clung on the screen of her old house calling out to her friends. Of course, they couldn’t help her. 

Hungry, thirsty, and lonely, if she survived the summer, she’d never make it through the winter outside the heated atrium.

One morning, Rick sprinkled bird seeds on the walkway near the atrium. She was no where in sight, but just in case…

A few minutes later, our cat Thelma crouched in an attack position, focused on the white parakeet who’d landed to eat.

Please, Lord, don’t let the bird die on the outside looking in. Don’t let Thelma…

Quickly and quietly, Rick shooed Thelma away. 

The parakeet stood still. 

He scooped her up, opened the door, and put her inside. Her friends welcomed her home and threw a grand celebration!

But the best part…

A week later, our long-lost white parakeet laid three white eggs.

Oh, the sweetness of belonging–of hearing, “Welcome. We’re so glad you’re here.” Click to tweet

Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. Romans 15:7 (ESV) Click to tweet 

Have you ever been on the outside looking in?  

Have you ever been a Mean Girl? Or am I the only one?





  1. sandy coffey says:

    You dear Julie have made up for that time with all your kindness to others and prayers. I wasn’t the mean girl per say but kids were mean to me as a kid making fun of my dresses that tied in the back because I was so skinny and holes in my shoes. Remembering in the 6th grad coming from the cloak room and some girls said look what she has on today. I was crushed. We then moved to another state and I became friends with some that did not care what I wore. Another time while with my grandma visiting her cousin a little cousin’s dad came to visit and when he was telling her a bedtime story I anxiously awaited to hear also until he told me to go somewhere else that this was his time with his daughter. Crushed again. I learned from those experiences and have never left anyone out that was near me. Especially if my kids or grandkids were bringing someone extra for holiday or supper. I included them also. Memories but made me stronger today in my old age. Thanks again for sharing.

    • Sandy, I’m reading your comment and actually saying, “Oh…oh…” out loud with no one home but me.

      I’m so, so sorry. Just shaking my head. I’m praying that the hurt you experienced will be used for His Glory. I know you understand how my friend felt so many years ago.

      Sending you a hug, lots of them.

  2. Anna Haney says:

    Oh, unfortunately, there have been times when I have been a mean girl. Some instances were in childhood and some, sad to say, have been as an adult. And I have been had times when kids were mean to me. Since we moved so much when I was a kid, it seemed that it happened more often than not. In all those events, I honestly believe that the actions of those kids were done without malice. Perhaps like me, words just came out faster than brains could edit. As I get older, I try really hard to think my words before I just blurt them out or write them down.

    • I like the way you look at things, Anna. “Words came out faster than brains could edit.” Sounds like you’re always thinking the best of people.

      Live and learn, right? And hopefully, with God’s help, we grow kinder and learn to let Him help us (me) with our words.

      Thank you, my friend.

  3. Cathy Mayfield says:

    Oh my, Julie, that brings back a whole load of memories – most from being on the outside. But just like you, I also have a “Mean Girl” story.

    I never fit in…elementary, junior high, high, and on into the working field. Today, it would be called bullying…abuse…verbal and emotional assault. Then, it was almost revered by some and ignored by others, including faculty. It set the stage for a lonely, hurting life in school and the beginning of my adult years. In fact, I still deal with some, as I mentioned on one of your former posts, and I’m still considering how God wants me to write about it.

    As for the mean thing, I longed to be accepted by my peers…that’s my only excuse for doing such a horrid thing. But it didn’t make that happen…and it caused guilt to begin building in me, to the point where I made myself physically sick then and still do so today if I hurt someone unintentionally. I hurt one of our daughters recently, through a comment which I felt would help her.

    I still need to learn the whole listening thing…which has hit me much the past year…just listen. And not just listen before speaking, but JUST listening, period. Praying silently. Listening…

    …and loving.

    • Cathy, I can feel the depth of your words. There’s a lot going on inside your heart. You have such a tender spirit.

      Just saying a prayer right now, lifting you up. Knowing He’s working.

      And I’m so sorry for your years of not fitting in. But I do believe He’s using it for good.

      So much love~~~~~~~

  4. Julie! Thank you for this

  5. Monica Henson says:

    Julie, this post broke my heart and made me remember the times in my childhood that I was a Mean Girl. I thank the Lord regularly for opening the eyes of my heart early on and making me examine my own behavior and change my ways. I have devoted my work as a school administrator to ensuring that disenfranchised students, many of whom are literally bullied out of their schools, have a place where they feel welcomed and valued.

    I felt tremendous pride one summer when my son, Brook, was a college student working as a lifeguard at the local public pool. One of the teacher moms told me how much her boys loved swimming there because Brook always made sure that everyone was included in the games. She said that one morning a group of little boys was organizing a game of Sharks and Minnows and they told an “outcast” boy named Michael that he couldn’t play. She described how Brook got down from the lifeguard stand, gathered them all together, and told them that if Michael couldn’t play, then no one would play. He told them that they were better people than that. Then he said, “I will be on the Minnows team, and I want Michael on my team. He’s a good swimmer.” Brook knew what it like to be left out and bullied by other kids because when we moved to Massachusetts when he was in elementary school, instead of playing ice hockey and talking with a Boston accent, he was a Southerner who preferred hunting and fishing. He never forgot how it felt, and although he grew into a champion snowboarder and karate instructor who co-captained his high school track team, he always went out of his way to befriend everyone.

    Love you! Your writing is such a blessing. I hope you don’t mind if I repost your blog post with my comment as a status update on my Facebook.

    • Monica Henson says:

      My daughter, Vicky, has always been a generous, beautiful, loving soul. When she was in elementary school, she discovered that some of her classmates were not going to be able to go on a field trip to Plymouth Rock because their families couldn’t afford it. She scheduled a meeting with her school principal to discuss how unfair she felt this was, and she announced that if everyone couldn’t go, then she would stay home, and perhaps in the future, fundraising opportunities should be offered in advance so students could work to raise the money for everyone to go. The principal was able to find some funds to ensure that the whole class could make the trip.

      • Ohhhhhhhhhhhh, Monica.

        What Vicky did probably changed lives forever and ever–amen! That’s the sweetest thing…

        Makes me want to give her a hug and tell her thank-you, this many years later!

        Love you. Love her too!

    • I felt totally honored and blessed to see you’d shared my post, Monica! Thank you.

      Isn’t it amazing how we remember these details? Almost like we’re seeing them all over again in Technicolor.

      Ohhhh, your sweet son. Surely, the Lord saw what He did. Such kindness. He not only stuck up for the underdog, he welcomed him on his team. I bet Michael never forgot that day. Who knows what chains might have been broken!!!

      Thank you. Thank you. Missed seeing you Sunday. XOXO

  6. Oh, Julie. Tears here. Yes, I’ve been mean. Haven’t we all. I love you. You always bless my heart. xoxoxo

    • Love you too, Shelli.

      Can’t wait until ONE DAY when we finally get to meet each other. I have a special place in my heart for your daughters.


      P.S. Thanks for saying you’ve been mean….on occasion. 🙂 Whew.

  7. Rick says:

    I’m not mean

    • Everyone, this is my husband, Rick–the one who’s LOVES his birds.

      Welcome to our group. Glad you stopped by. Do you realize this is the first time you’ve ever commented on my blog–at least officially??

      We’re all so glad you came. Come back soon.

      I love you~~~~~~~Former Mean Girl.

    • Rick!! So glad to see you hear. You have blessed my heart so much through Julie’s writing. 🙂

  8. Ticia says:

    I was bullied by a group of mean girls in the second grade. One girl decided that she didn’t like me and that no one could be my friend. So I had no friends. I tended to stay inside on recess because I was treated cruelly outside. One day a few of the girls came in and told me that they liked me but that they couldn’t be my friend because this girl wouldn’t allow it. That experience made me a very angry person for a lot of years. One day in my early twenties I was in a department store and the cashier looked up at me and said my name. I just looked at her with no idea who she was. So she told me. She was one of the girls who had come into the classroom to tell me she couldn’t be my friend. She asked me to forgive her. I didn’t, I was just so rocked by having that resurface in line at a store. Later as I contemplated the whole matter, I realized that girl had carried around the pain of what she did. I’m glad it did because I’m sure it changed her for the better. I never saw her again but I hope somehow she knows that I forgave her when I had time to process it. I never beca me a mean girl I just became mean. I never trusted after that and pushed everyone away. I became ad unlovable as they told me I was.

    • Ticia….

      Sometimes (a lot) comments make me cry. Yours just did. Oh, Ticia…….

      This is sooooooooooooooooooo powerful. When you forgave her, you were set free!!! I’m jumping up and down in my heart for you.

      And I have a feeling, this was kinda tough to write about. And you did it! Look!!!! And right now, I’m praying others will read about what you went through, and they’ll be able to forgive too.

      I’m so happy for you. And so very, very sorry you went through years of being left out. So sorry.

      Wish I could give you a hug right now. Thank you again for sharing your heart with us. May God use it for His Glory.

  9. roberta messner says:

    No, you’re not the only one. As a young girl, I was invited to a watermelon party. I was so excited. But when I got there, there was no party. Just me. Every time I pass that house, I’m filled with the shame of being excluded and embarrassed.

    • Roberta….


      I’m so sorry. And oh, the power of these painful memories…how they can linger…the damage they can do.

      I’m praying, right now, in Jesus’ name, that He will heal your watermelon party memory. It breaks my heart so I know it breaks His.

      Thank you for sharing this. May His gentle touch heal the bruise in your heart.

  10. I’m pretty sure I’ve been a mean girl, but my wonderful selective memory leaves me no record of it. Ha! I’m sure it’s there .. in the recesses of my mind.

    But what I am also sure of is that God forgave you long ago for that comment to the little girl in the Sunday dress. You were so young yourself. And look what you learned…compassion for all people and all things. What a beautiful lesson instilled in you. Gotta love God and his wonderful sense of love shown to us through all good things…like white parakeets who lay 3 white eggs.

    • I love your thoughts on this, B.J.

      I just feel so much better having written this memory. It comes back to me from time to time. I think I apologized to her–pretty sure I did. Hope so!!!

      Yes, 3 white eggs. New life from what appeared to be hopeless.

      Love you. Always.

  11. Katie says:

    Ohhhh I’m sooo glad he got the little white parakeet!! I remember seeing him up in the tree while we were there. ❤️

    • Me too, Katie. I’m smiling. Thanks for your comment.

      Y’all, if you’re reading this is my middle child, my second daughter, Katie.

      I love you,

  12. Those are the very things I’ve tried to “fix,” in whatever ways I can. To make up for it, or just pay-it-forward because when I knew better, I did better. So I pray I can send those blessings out, to make up for the times I so badly got it wrong.

    The eggs are the best part! She came back with more than what she left you with. So blessed by your sweet words always!

    • I know, Vicky!! The eggs–and it looked like all hope was lost. Not only did she come home, she went on to bring new life!!

      Thank you, my friend.

      Big hug from my loft office in the woods.

  13. marci says:

    I am so glad it ended happily for the little bird. When we care for so many different animals, we do our best to keep one of them from harming another one. We have chickens, who are range free, cats, and dogs. Yesterday a hen got spooked and flew into a dog pen, thankfully Mariah is a good listener, and did not harm the chicken.. Chas went in the pen and was chasing that hen all around trying to get her to go out the gate, and she kept circling and tried to go in the dog house with the dog! Thankfully, all ended well, and the hen was unharmed. It made me think, have I let fear drive me into harms way instead of out of it. Chas was trying to save that hen, and she kept running away (fear) just as the bird was not letting Rick get it and put it back with it’s friends. We had parakeets, when I was a girl. There were times when we were cleaning the cage someone would open the door and out it would go.

    I would like to think I was never a mean girl, I don’t know.. But I know, if any of the ones that were mean to me, were sorry, and it changed them into caring people, that would make me very happy. The fact that your words to that little girl, when you were a young girl yourself, bothered you so much,and all the kindness and care you show now, shows how caring and what a gentle spirit you truly are.

    Does Rick think the Parakeet will hatch out the eggs it laid? Wouldn’t that be neat, watching the new little family.

    God Bless you dear Julie

    • Hey Marci’a,

      Yes, he thinks the eggs will hatch. He said it takes 21 days. We’ve had baby parakeets before. If it happens, I’ll have to post pics!! New life from what looked like a hopeless situation. 🙂

      So glad it all turned out well for your hen. Your backyard sounds so much like ours….always lots of action.

      And I don’t believe for a second that you could have EVER been a mean girl. Never ever!!


      • marci says:

        This is so late I am not sure if you will see it. That would be great if the eggs hatched. I have never seen a baby parakeet hatch. You are right, there is always excitement when you have animals, and also a woods adds to it too.

        You are so kind to think I could have never been mean. I hope that I wasn’t.


        • You’ve never been mean, Marci’a. I just feel it in my gut.

          And if these eggs hatch, you better believe I’ll be sharing pics! Probably write a whole ‘nother post about it!


  14. Julie Gilleand says:

    I have had several parakeets in my time so I could feel the pain of losing one that way. So glad she was rescued and welcomed back in with the others.

    As I’ve been watching live cams on many different type birds’ nests, I watched in horror a couple nights ago as an osprey chick, one of 3 in the nest, was snatched away by a bald eagle. Of the remaining 2, one flew away and the other hunkered down in the nest, all while the mother osprey chased the eagle to try and save her baby’s life, to no avail. Everyone watching the cam, worried for the chick that flew away because it had never flown before. Was it okay? Or injured? A search team went out looking but didn’t find her. Then this morning I pulled up the cam on my computer and saw that the escapee osprey was back in the nest! She’d found her way back home, to everyone’s relief, no more so than its parents and sibling. Such drama! But how good it must have been to return (home) and for the others to welcome her back home too, just like Rick’s parakeet.

    When I was 13, my best friend was Pam. What we had in common was we both were in love with Robert Redford and Paul Newman! We made scrapbooks and wallpapered our bedroom walls with pictures of them both. We went to their movies over and over. Once, I snuck a tape recorder in with me so I could record all of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (back in the days before VCR’s and DVD players and Netflix, etc!). I copied down word-for-word, the script to the movie listening to that tape. Pam and I would then act out the entire movie and record ourselves doing it. In my backyard one day, just for fun, we acted out the whole Butch Cassidy movie, start to finish, from memory. It was the most fun I’ve ever had and that summer of 1974 was the best summer I can remember. But at some point my interest in Robert Redford began to fade as it gave way to other celebrities I began to like better. Pam felt sad about it because it meant she didn’t have someone to share that with anymore. I understood but I couldn’t pretend to be interested when I wasn’t. She tended to be the boss in our friendship. We always did things her way and usually I went along with everything, but it sort of grated on me, too. So when she blew up at me over the phone one night, for not liking R.Redford anymore (as much), I bellowed out that I was sick of her bossing me around. She asked me then if I didn’t want to be friends anymore. I thought a minute and then blurted out the words I would always regret — “NO!!!!!”.

    We didn’t speak for over a year. This all happened the summer between Junior High and High School. That fall, she went to a private school while I went to the public high school, so we didn’t even see each other anymore. But when my sophomore year began, there she was in my home room. Both our last names started with a “B” so we were even seated close together. I sat there through the entire home room period which felt like hours, wondering if she was still mad at me or if I should dare to speak to her. I missed her and missed our friendship. I hated that we weren’t friends anymore, even if we had different interests. Home room let out and we went to our lockers. I made myself speak to her and said, “Hey Pam, are you still mad at me?” She smiled and laughed a little, saying, “Nahh, that was all really dumb!” And thus began maybe not a resuming of our friendship as it used to be, but at least we weren’t enemies. I asked her if she’d sign my Freshman yearbook when we got them. She signed it saying “Never forget R.R.!” Robert Redford of course! But it was just knowing I’d been forgiven and that things were okay again for us, even if not exactly the same as before. I’ve lost touch with her again over the years and think of her from time to time. And always, always always, when I see a Robert Redford movie, I remember that one great summer we had together and hope she is doing well, wherever she is.

    I don’t seem to be able to comment on your blogs without telling another whole story. There I go, blog-bombing again! But thank you for calling things to my mind that are cherished memories for me. It’s a healing thing 🙂

    God bless, other Julie!!!


    • Leafy,

      As I read your friendship story, I kept thinking, THIS WOULD MAKE AN INCREDIBLE NOVEL. Maybe because I’m writing Young Adult and maybe b/c I have a heart for teenage girls (especially rebellious ones)…but wow–I was right there with you. I think I like Paul Newman a little better than RR. I went back to 1974 in my mind (I was 14). What a neat idea–to tape their voices and memorize their lines. Have you seen Pam since y’all grew up?

      And what a total miracle about the osprey chick. I mean, really….. makes me think miracles really are going on all the time. We just have to keep our hearts open.

      So glad to hear your voice again on the post this week.

      Love you!!
      Other Julie~~

      • Julie Gilleand says:

        A novel, huh? Hmmm, hadn’t thought of that, but maybe so! I lost touch with Pam when she moved to Alabama after that sophomore year. Then one day after I’d graduated HS, I was driving down the road and found her hitchhiking. I pulled over and she got in the car, not realizing until she got in, that it was me! She’d moved back to the area but was on her own. Her life seemed to have taken a harsh turn and I worried about where she was headed. That was the last time I saw her, and I haven’t even been able to find her on Facebook, but I still try. Maybe your blog’s reminding me about her is a call for me to pray for Pam again. A few weeks ago I ran across a magazine with a picture of RR and Paul Newman on the front. I just HAD to buy it for nostalgic reasons. It so took me back to that summer of ’74 and I wished I could send the magazine to Pam, for old times sake. Another part of our story that would be great in a novel, is that she and I actually plotted to run away, to go live with RR at his Sundance Ranch in Utah!! Oh we had plans and we actually set out on our bikes one night, having sneaked out our bedroom windows. We were so scared! Pam asked if I thought God was mad at us for doing this. I didn’t know the Lord then, but I answered that I didn’t think He was mad but probably he preferred we not do this! LoL. We got scared in the dark and turned back home. Boy did we both get in trouble! Wouldn’t it be so fun to tell RR this story someday?!! Thanks for inspiring me to think about Pam and to pray for her and try again to find her — just like the white parakeet, and the baby osprey!

        • Leafy, I’m sitting here smiling. 🙂

          So many adventures and adventures make for great writing! Let me know if you find her.


          • And Other Julie,

            Yes. This would make a good novel. Just weave it into fiction. Ha! I’m saying it like it’s easy.

            Happy Monday to you~

  15. Patricia Martin says:

    I remember when other kids where left out and how I tried to make them a part of our group. It takes a lot of courage to stand up for yourself and even more courage to stand up others. (): I am still working on that. Lots of room for improvement! I usually tried not to be mean to others, but some people can be a challenge to be nice

    • Sweet Patricia,

      I can’t imagine you ever being mean to a single soul. You are so kind–it shows in your posts. You have such a tender spirit, always so welcoming.

      I hated to show you the other side of me, but the memory just wouldn’t leave me alone. I thought maybe God was tapping on my heart to share it.

      Fill me in on your world? How’s your family? Eating GF? How are you feeling?

  16. I’ve got some mean girls memories too when I was very young. Something I’m not proud of either.
    So good to see you’ve saved your parakeet and that now she’s even laid eggs. 🙂

    Beautiful verse.

  17. Oh Julie, I love this piece! Like you, I was a mean girl only once. A full-time mean girl sitting in a school desk next to mine pulled me into name calling of another girl. I’m utterly ashamed to say that in that moment it felt empowering. Or, perhaps it just felt great to not be the brunt of the name calling as was my usual state. The memories still plague me today,
    So, happy you got your bird back.

    • I know, Pamela.


      That’s how I felt, but oh, what a letdown when I realized how my momentary dash of power had crushed my friend.

      Thank you for letting me know I’m not the only one.

      Big hugs this morning!!

  18. Michelle V. says:

    I don’t recall being a mean girl in school. I hated bullies and always tried to put myself in the other person’s shoes. I remember standing up for a girl, who was battling leukemia, after some ignorant boy snatched the scarf from her balding head. Instances like that made my blood boil.

    Unfortunately, as I got older, I went through some intensely selfish periods of time and did some extremely hurtful things to those I love; breaking some hearts. I asked for forgiveness, but the thought of those dark times still has the power to tear me up inside. I beat myself up for years over my ugly deeds. Even though I had been forgiven, I couldn’t forgive myself. It wasn’t until I had a mini breakdown at work that a coworker opened my eyes and set me on the path to self-forgiveness. She said to me, “Michelle, if God can forgive you, who are you not to forgive yourself?” Words that were so beautiful in their simplicity, yet so powerful that they penetrated through the haze of pain I’d wrapped myself in for years. I thought long and hard about it; letting the words sink deep within my mind….Could it really be this simple? Yes, it could. If God Almighty, the Creator of an entire universe and all that dwell in it….If He can still love me and forgive me, then who do I think I am not to forgive myself? Finally, it all became crystal clear to me! If I refused to forgive myself and let go of the pain, it would be like a slap in God’s face; and why would I ever want to turn my back on such wonderful gifts? At long last, the heavy weight of guilt was lifted from my shoulders, and I could start looking forward instead of constantly looking back. I also was able to finally see all the blessings that came out of that dark time….blessings I probably wouldn’t have had if I’d chosen a different path. I’m able to see firsthand how God takes the bad and weaves it into something good; and I’m eternally thankful that He sent a wise coworker/friend who knew just what to say when I needed it the most!

    • Oh, Michelle…

      This is POWERFUL. Ohhhh, I hope everybody reads your comment. This is huge. This is God. This is Love. This is Life-Changing.

      I wish we were face-to-face talking.

      This was brave of you to share. Thank you. I’m praying right now that your honesty will set others free.

      Thank you, thank you, thank you. Lord, take Michelle’s gift and bless it. Multiply it. Set others free.

  19. Patricia Martin says:

    Julie, thank you for your kind remarks!(: I am not perfect and could and still can be mean in my actions towards others. Usually fatigue or the time of the month determines how nice I am. (): being a firstborn and the only one in my immediate family can be tough): please say prayers for me as I am having a stressful and harried first week in my new university. My family is well and getting a big project started in our backyard. Eating GF has helped me feel better, but still a challenge. My gram reminded for my whole first 6 months to a year what I was missing out on by going GF.): but she has gotten better over time.(: how is your family? How is Rilynn? Do not feel bad about your mean girl memory! You are such an inspiration to so many of us! Life is about learning and believe me, this week I am having a hard time not being Xoxoxox

    • Hey again Patricia,

      I’m reading a book on autoimmune illness which also suggests we cut out dairy. :/ I just finished the book last night–not sure what I’m going to do. The woman who wrote it (a dr…MD) says that dairy causes inflammation. Which leads to autoimmune illnesses.

      I know what you mean about first born and only one with Celiac. Although Thomas’s fiance has it too.

      Rilynn’s 5th birthday is next week. Can’t wait! We’re going to Katie’s for a party.

      Thank you for your sweet words, and yes, I’ll be praying for you as you’re getting used to your new college.

      XOXOXOXOXOX Hope you can find GF stuff to eat in the cafeteria.

  20. Patricia Martin says:

    Hi again Julie,
    How are you? I am taking classes at a completely online university so there is no need for me to worry about cafeteria food.(: Happy Birthday to Rilynn! Hope you are having a great day!

    • Ohhh, that sounds wonderful, Patricia! So food isn’t an issue. And thank you so much for remembering Rilynn’s b/day. Katie’s having her party tomorrow. I can’t wait!


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